Sunday, 15 February 2015


We arrived into Chiang Mai late in the afternoon and stopped for a beer to do some free wifi recon that produced little result other than me wanting another beer!  So I put our accommodation fate in the hands of Osmand, my GPS system, and we set off around the crowded city looking for a guesthouse. 

It became increasingly frustrating and validated my normal approach of having something booked when hitting a bigger town like this, everything was full or overpriced.  I finally gave in and we paid 500 bt to stay at Manee House, a little overpriced compared to the rest of our places, but nice enough with working hot water and wifi that hasn’t crapped out yet.

First impressions are that Chiang Mai could very well be the Kuta of Thailand (minus the beach), with it’s maze of tiny paved side streets intersecting the city, lined with little bars and cafĂ©’s full of holidaying farangs. 

Although much more well behaved than the usual idiots that can be found loud, shirtless and well pissed in Bali’s Kuta, the crowd seems similar and the place just has the same feel to it to me, more in terms of what’s here, who’s here and how it’s laid out.  Plus it almost seems the farang tourist’s outnumber the locals here, something you rarely see.

We have only had 1 night here and these are simply my first impressions, but I found it interesting that I saw it that way and that Chiang Mai so far feels unlike anywhere else I have been in Thailand.  Possibly because I have barely spent any time in the backpacker/holiday zones of Thailand like Phuket and the southern islands.  

It really felt like the biggest concentration of Westerner's I had seen, aside from Pattaya, but that is a different crowd altogether, much older and often expats.  You rarely see any backpackers there.

The next day we simply explored the city, checked out some of the temples and then ended the day by riding up to Doi Suthep, the mountain that looks over the city of Chiang Mai and hosts Wat Pra That, apparently a major tourist attraction judging by the number of people there. 

Chiang Mai definitely needs more time than we were willing to give it this trip so we figured we would keep moving the next day and make our run for home, we are starting to feel the effects of so long on the road and are both ready to get home. I will most certainly be returning here with more time to spend, the whole area has been fantastic, though a little rushed. 

View from Doi Suthep

Waterfall nearby

Some sort of bee or wasp nest...?!

In town

Sunset view from some rooftop reggae bar 

Saw this place as we were heading out of town, looked like the kind of place I'd go.  The Bus Bar....  a bar that's a bus...!!  Looks like a nice spot next to the river, will check it out next trip